Kitchen sink soup

September 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm (Food) (, , )

We’re big soup eaters. Can’t decide what’s for dinner? Soup. Want something lazy for dinner? Soup. Need to use up leftovers? Soup. Need to throw something in the crockpot for later? Soup. It’s always a winner around here. Since no two batches are ever the same, I call it Kitchen Sink Soup; I throw in everything but the kitchen sink.

The first step is the stock. Stash a zipper bag in your freezer. Every time you peel a veggie or trim the ends, throw the scraps in the bag. When the bag is full (or as full as will fit in your crockpot), dump the contents in the crockpot, cover with water and add some seasonings. I usually use some garlic and whatever is on hand. Last night, it happened to be dry basil and oregano. Parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, etc are all great choices too. I usually coarsely chop an extra onion to add too, but I love onion, so that’s up to you. Cover and set on low for 6-8 hrs. Drain and cool. You can reduce or freeze it from here, but I usually use it so quickly, I just toss it in the fridge. If you want to save bones from any meat dishes, you can use those in your stock too.

Now that your stock is out of the way, dinner is insanely easy. Start rifling through your fridge. What do you need to use up? Some leftover shredded chicken from tacos? Some veggies starting to get soft? I usually eyeball somewhere around 2 parts stock to one part stuff. Simple enough, right? Anything fully cooked, soft (like zucchini), or cooks quickly (like broccoli) can go straight in the crockpot with the stock. Hard veggies like carrots, onions, etc should be sautéed first. Once they soften, toss them in the pot too. Cook on low for 6ish hours or high for 3. Starchy items like rice and potatoes will thicken the stock a bit. If you want it thicker, about 30 minutes before serving, combine a couple of tablespoons corn starch with an equal amount of cold water. Gradually stir it into the soup. Let it continue cooking until you’re ready to eat.

Here’s what went in my pot today:
Directly into the pot: 4 quarts stock, 1 parsnip, 1 turnip, 1 rutabaga, 1 zucchini, and 1 head broccoli.
Into a sauté pan: 1 onion, 4 carrots, 4 ribs celery, 1 leek, 1 red bell pepper and 2 tablespoons garlic. Once these are softened, they go right into the pot too.

I prefer to season my stock strongly so that I don’t need to do much with the soup. I’ll add a little salt and pepper, maybe an herb or two, but that’s it. We like to eat our soup with rice, but I prefer to cook it separately. I make huge pots of soup because we love leftovers. I’m not fond of how squishy rice gets sitting in the soup for a day or two. If you want to add rice, white rice can go in about an hour before you plan to eat, brown rice will need longer (at least an 1.5 hours). Quinoa should work too, but I haven’t tried it yet. Pasta is definitely best cooked separate and added as y eat.

Now go rescue those leftovers and enjoy your own version of Kitchen Sink Soup!

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